Wednesday, May 24, 2017

My First Goodwill Outlet Trip

I've been selling on Ebay for 3 years now and I just recently went to the Goodwill Outlet. I'd been dying to go for quite a while. I had been watching some other resellers on YouTube and was seeing all of their incredible Outlet hauls for a while. I was jealous. Lol. I wanted to go so bad, but I wasn't able to use my small Ebay income to reinvest in my business. I was using it to pay bills and buy groceries since I wasn't working full time. But I thought about how much stuff I could potentially get for so little money and I could make so much more. I had to go!

My nearest outlet is 2 1/2 hours away in Kansas City, Mo. It's not extremely far, but not knowing if I would even find anything worth selling, I didn't know if it would be worth it. My husband Chris and I decided to go to Omaha, Ne, about 3 1/2 hours away, after we got our tax return. It was our Anniversary weekend and we had wanted to take a mini trip somewhere, so we decided to make it a business trip. We never get to go anywhere or do anything, so I was so excited for the whole experience. (My poor husband.) But that was my opportunity to put some money back into my business. I desperately wanted/want to grow my business to a point where we aren't living paycheck to paycheck and to be able to take little trips with our kids and enjoy our lives. I was sure the outlet would allow me to accomplish that.

When we got to the Omaha outlet,  I was initially super excited because there weren't hardly any cars in the parking lot. Once we walked inside, my excitement faded into disappointed. There were only 4 rows of approximately 3-6 bins. I was expecting what I had been seeing in other peoples photo's, with rows and rows of blue bins and tons of people fighting digging through them. That was not the case. I was glad there weren't many people, but there was only about 4, maybe 5 blue bins of clothing. I sell mostly women's clothes. There was 2 rows of about 5 or 6 blue bins of hard goods, which isn't my favorite. I will sell anything if it will make a little money, but clothes are my specialty. (I know some things, I'm not an expert, however). 

This is the Omaha Outlet.

(I wish I would have thought of taking pictures, but I didn't. I got a few photo's, but next time I go, I will definitely remind myself to take photos. I didn't want people looking at me like I'm a weirdo. Those were the bins next to the clothes. What you see are actually 3 rows, I guess. The closest to the wall are clothes. That was the only row of clothes. The bins up close in the photo are mostly hard goods. There was only the 2 or 3 bins. There was 2 more rows around the corner of more hard goods which consisted of approximately 4-6 blue bins per row. It was pretty bare compared to the 2 other outlets I've been to since.)

I dug through the bins and I did find some stuff. I found a cart full of clothes, surprisingly. Mostly just every day mall brands, which is the majority of what I sell. I was disappointed that I didn't find a hundred pounds of stuff. 

My husband, sensing my disappointment, looked up how far the Des Moines outlet was. It was 2 hours away. He suggested going there, since we were staying in Omaha for 2 more days. He knew we wouldn't be going home with as much stuff as I was hoping. I really needed to get as much as possible to grow as much as I needed to.

Let me add real quickly, the employee working the 2 days we went to the Omaha outlet was extremely friendly. I think her name was Shantell or Shante, something like that. She was the sweetest, friendliest person. I would go to the Omaha Outlet again in the future but I would like to make it another Omaha/Des Moines trip. I'm sure Chris is just thrilled to hear that! Lol!

So we drove the 2 hours to Des Moines. I am so lucky to have such a supportive husband. He drove the whole way. It was pouring rain the whole time. He never complained once that this is how we were spending our 6th Anniversary. He knew how much it meant to me. He did so much driving on that trip. I slept most of the way :) We wanted to visit the zoo while we were in Omaha, but it rained the entire 3 days we were there. 

This photo is from one of our Anniversaries a few years ago in
 Ponca City, Ok where we got married. We forgot to
 take a selfie on this trip.
The Goodwill Outlet in Des Moines is set in a small strip mall type area. It looked smaller than the Omaha outlet from the outside. The Omaha outlet was set in more of a warehouse type district. The parking lot in Des Moines had more cars, but there were also more stores nearby, so I couldn't tell if it was going to be packed, which I was worried about since it was already 12:30.

When we walked inside, I was so relieved. It was exactly what I was hoping Omaha outlet would be. There were rows and rows of bins. Mostly clothing. And there weren't really that many people, compared to what I was expecting. I was in heaven! I got my cart and got to work.

I purchased 121 pounds of clothing. YES! I spent $119.79. It's .99 a pound after 25 pounds. At the Omaha outlet, I only found 63 pounds of clothes, and a heavy laptop backpack. I also got a heavy book for my son. But I only spent $45.31 there. Their prices are awesome. It's .99 a pound until you get to 25 pounds, then it's .67 per pound. That is the best price I've seen yet.

Chris and I were staying right outside of Omaha but we went back to Des Moines the next morning as well. I got another 77 pounds. They had a lot of the same stuff they had the day before. They don't change out bins very often at all. Neither does the Omaha outlet. Unlike the Kansas City outlet that we went to 2 weeks later, but I'll write about the KC outlet in another post. That is a whole different story!

My last Omaha Goodwill Outlet Haul.

Before we headed back home on Monday, we stopped at the Omaha outlet again, just to see if I could find anything else. Chris wasn't thrilled because our van was so full of clothes. He worried about all the extra weight, but I said "we have 3 teenagers back there all the time, plus 2 more kids in the middle. I'm sure the teenagers weigh more than that." I was glad we went back though because I found even more stuff than I did the first time we went. I got 80 pounds and I probably could have found more but Chris was giving me the look. So I called it.

In total, I came home with 341.8 pounds! I was so excited to go through everything, because being my first time at the bins and having 2 carts full of stuff by the end of my trips, I couldn't really go through everything to determine if I really wanted it. I figured, I'm barely paying anything for each item, so if it doesn't work, I'm not losing much. I was dying to sort through everything. That is the funnest part.


It's hard to tell from the photo's just how much we came home with. I really wish I had taken more, better photo's. But next time I will do better. I'm dying to go back already. It is seriously addictive. I have so much stuff to list though and Chris is trying to say we aren't going back until I get it all listed. Ha! We'll see about that. I have to go before I have everything listed. I can't wait until everything is listed. I need to keep inventory so I can list at least 20 items per day consistently.

Like I said, we went to KC outlet 2 weekends later and I will write about that later. But between these 2 trips, I and a couple yard sales, I have probably over 700 pieces to get listed. I have a lot of sweaters though and I'm going to hold off on listing those until the end. I know sweaters can sell all year, I do global shipping now, but sweaters don't sell great for me during the summer, unless it's light weight. I, however, will wear a sweater all year round. It gets hot in Kansas but I'm always freezing.

Here's what my house looked like after we got everything home:

I had all this. Isn't it incredible? 

So I have been working on photographing and listing. I bought a new lighting system and it is amazing how good my pictures look now. 

Don't they look great? I've always done my best to use really good photos. When I first started, they weren't great because I was using a Motorola Droid Razer, but I upgraded to a Galaxy s6 a couple years ago. I could upgrade to a 7 now but I haven't decided if I will yet. I've always used a nice white background, but I love the gray fur. I don't like to copy people, ever. I do my own thing, but sometimes we get inspired by other people and we add our own  special touches and flare to it. I know I'm off topic now. I'll do a post on my photographs sometime. 

Since this Outlet haul, my sales are up 55%. I have had my best sales month ever since I started selling on Ebay. I am so happy with where I'm at. I have a goal to make a certain amount by the end of the summer. As I've said before, I wasn't using my income to buy more inventory so I was never able to get above a certain sales amount. I was probably averaging only $800 a month last year. During busy months, around Christmas and such, I was making maybe $1200 at most. Even though this was my only job, I was only thinking of it like it was a part time job, not a full time job. But now, I'm really working on growth. I'm hoping to be at $3000 in sales by the end of the summer, which is quite a feat for me because summer is usually really slow. But I believe I can do it if I'm listing like crazy every day. By the end of the year, I'm hoping to be averaging $5000 a month. I know there are a lot of sellers making that much and way more right now. Sellers who started after I did. Some sellers are making over 10, 20 thousand a month, selling pre-owned clothing! So I know if I really work hard, I can reach that goal. Of course, my costs, such as shipping, subscription and everything is about 45% of my sales right now. That is pretty high.

My daughter is helping me a couple hours a day now, uploading photo's for me. So that will help a lot. I'm paying her for her help. I'm hoping to teach her, so she can start her own account if she chooses to when she's old enough. It would be great for her to make a little money and to be her own boss.

Well, I guess I'll end on that. Sorry for the long post. I have so much to say about selling on Ebay and sourcing and so many things about Ebay. I love my job. It is the hardest I've every worked in my life. And I've had jobs that are not easy but this is the most work I've every put into anything. I love it so it makes it worth every minute. This isn't just a hobby. This is a business. This is serious and it's legit. And I am so grateful for what I have and what I'm able to do. I'm grateful to my family for their support and for putting up with my long, crazy hours. And I'm grateful to Chris for driving long hours to make me happy. And I'm grateful to God for everything single I have and have accomplished, (and for getting us home safely when it turned out one of our tires was on the verge of blowing after I had just taken the van in it have the tires checked!)

I'll write again soon! Maybe I'll even make a video and upload it here soon also. I don't know. I'm more nervous about that. I don't talk to myself that much or talking in general, so it will be weird talking to a camera. But I might give it a try. I'll also write some about my sales, my haul finds and other things. Sorry if I had any typo's and for rambling a little. I am in a hurry to get back to work. Thanks for stopping by!! Please come back!

What outlets have you gone to and do you think it's worth the trip?

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